After experiencing the East African birdlife along the Albertine and Ethiopian rift valleys, we decided to visit the West African region; and Ghana fit the bill perfectly with decent infrastructure and access to most of the endemic/near endemic Upper Guinea birds. We browsed through several trip reports to get a feeling of this region and came up with a rough itinerary which we firmed up after contacting Robert Ntakor, an extremely knowledgeable local bird guide.
Visa: Getting a visa turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated, and it took multiple visits to the local Ghana embassy and a lot of patience managing the ever-changing requirements of the embassy staff before finally getting our hands on the visa.
Birding with Robert Ntakor:
Robert is an extremely skilled birder and knows the region like the back of his hand. He not only guided us during the trip, but he also took care of all the ground arrangements and everything worked very well. Based on our experience, we highly recommend Robert for anyone looking for a bird guide in Ghana.
Contact Details: +233 (0) 243958959/ (0) 203353147, ntakorrobert(at)gmail.com
Travel Dates: 26th Oct 2019 – 9th Nov 2019
Weather: Rain was a constant companion, and it was hot & humid when it was not raining. This did affect birding; however, it was the extra days at hand and Robert’s vast experience that eventually helped us connect with most of the target birds.
Itinerary: We focused on the southwestern Guinea lowland rainforests and gave a miss to the northern savannas at the Mole National Park, saving a couple of days of driving and using them to track down the tricky forest birds. During our 15 days trip, we covered Shai Hills, Kakum National Park, Ankasa, Subri River Forest, Brenu Beach Road, Assin Fosu, Bobiri Forest and the Atewa range.
Kakum lived up to its name while finding the Nkulengu Rail’s and hearing their unique calls in pitch darkness was a surreal experience as was the chance encounter with Grey-throated Rail at Ankasa. We also finally managed to connect with the Hartlaub’s Duck that we had missed earlier in Uganda.
Birding Highlights: Birding for sure is not easy in Ghana and requires considerable patience, commitment, sweat and a lot of luck!! The sound of chainsaws and the movement of logging trucks was always in the backdrop and extensive hunting did not really help things out. Still, we managed to see most of the Upper Guinea specialties like the Brown-cheeked Hornbill, White-necked Rockfowl, Sharpe’s Apalis, West African wattle-eye, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Rufous-winged Illadopsis, Copper-tailed Starling, Nimba Flycatcher and the Red-fronted Antpecker.
Other near endemics spotted were the Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Black Spinetail, Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Red-billed Helmetshrike, Grey-headed Bristlebill, western Bearded Greenbul, Kemp’s Longbill, Finsch’s Rufous Thrush, Ussher’s Flycatcher and the Buff-throated Sunbird.
Nocturnal birding produced Brown Nightjar, Fraser’s eagle-owl, Akun eagle-owl and the Nkulengu Rail apart from mammals like African Palm Civet, Demidoff’s Dwarf Galago, Hammer-headed bat, Pel’s Anomalure and the Potto.
Please do feel free to contact us for any information you may need about our trip to Ghana. A list of birds seen during the trip can be found here.